Clean-Up Begins as Irene Winds Down, Some Roads Closed and Residents Without Power
Emergency crews are responding to calls of downed wires.
Burlington emergency crews are busy clearing debris from the roads and supporting utility crews in restoring power this afternoon.
Assistant Fire Chief Michael Patterson of the Burlington Fire Department said Irene caused wide-spread power outages and took down trees and tree branches in various parts of town.
"It’s been pretty crazy," he said. "We estimate we have received about 50 calls for service since 6 a.m. this morning."
Patterson said the majority were arching wires and downed trees affecting power lines. There have been both incidents of limbs tearing service lines off of homes and taking down main power lines. There were also four calls of downed trees and branches damaging homes.
However, despite the damage from the heavy winds, Patterson said the department received only one call for an ambulance today and there were no reported injuries resulting from the storm.
"On a normal day we get eight to ten ambulance runs, today that’s way down," he said.
Patterson said crews are currently working on clean-up operations and restoring power in areas where it was cut. Currently, crews are down at Mountain Road and on Newbridge Road where power lines were knocked down.
"We have companies standing by awaiting the arrival of NStar," he said.
Though the storm has died down, Patterson said residents should still stay home if they can for safety.
"The wind from the storm is still occurring and will happen all night," he said. "We anticipate further arching-wire calls. We are definitely not in the clear yet.
He also said it is important to not approach any downed wires or trees near electrical lines.
“Don’t approach any types of down wires, you never know if it's alive or dead," he said. "We assume all wires are alive until the electric company says it dead.”
There are still widespread reports of power outages throughout Burlington and most of Massachusetts. Patterson said work to restore power will continue this evening. The fire department had extra members covering for the storm today and the department will maintain its boosted numbers for the post-storm effort.
"Stay patient," he said. "There are numerous areas with power outages and wires down and it takes time to restore power. I know people get frustrated but hopefully they remain patient."
On it's site, NSTAR posted an update of the effort to restore power.
"Tropical Storm Irene has dealt a massive blow to the region – including NSTAR’s service territory," it states. "High winds have brought falling trees and limbs down on power lines causing widespread power outages and massive damage. Right now about 175,000 NSTAR customers are without power. The outages are scattered, but the biggest concentration is on the South Shore and Greater New Bedford area."
"NSTAR crews are currently working in these tough conditions to restore customers as quickly and safely as possible. We have all our 3,000 employees, along with contract crews and tree specialists assisting in the effort. We will continue to work around the clock until all customers are restored."
Customers can call 800-592-2000 to report service problems.